EU lawmakers are voting to ban the sale of petrol cars by 2035

While the measure still needs to be discussed by the council and adopted by law, parliamentary voting is seen as the most crucial step in the process. Full approval will probably mean a drop in sales for hybrid cars and a rapid transition to all-electric models.

The support for the measure comes after a number of rejections of other central climate policy on Wednesday.

A center-right parliamentary faction had opposed the 100% ban by 2035. Some lawmakers had instead demanded a 90% ban, meaning a tenth of all new car sales could still be internal combustion engines.

“I am very relieved and pleased with the result,” said Dutch lawmaker Jan Huitema, who led the policy.

Parliament previously rejected three other important proposals, including its center-right policy to reform the carbon market.

German lawmaker Peter Liese had earlier on Wednesday told reporters that his center-right EPP group did not support the 100% ban, adding that combustion vehicles could still be useful if low-carbon synthetic fuel technology were to improve over time.

“We do not think politicians should decide whether the electric vehicles or synthetic fuels are the best choice. I personally believe that most consumers will buy an electric car if we give them the necessary infrastructure, and that is what we have to do,” he said. .

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He added that it was possible combustion vehicles that use synthetic fuel in the future may become more competitive than electric vehicles. They may also be more realistic for many developing countries in Africa and Asia – which buy European cars – especially if those countries are unable to move to renewable energy-based economies over the next few decades, Liese said.

The commission first announced a plan to phase out internal combustion engine cars in August last year. To facilitate the transition to electric cars, the Commission said it would require the 27 EU member states to expand the charging capacity of vehicles. Charging points will be installed every 60 kilometers (37.3 miles) on major highways, and the minimum tax rate for gasoline and diesel will be raised.

The car industry plays an important role in Europe’s economy, accounting for 7% of gross domestic product and supporting 14.6 million jobs in the region. But transport is the only sector where greenhouse gas emissions are increasing, and road vehicles accounted for 21% of CO2 emissions in 2017.

The UK, which is no longer in the EU, announced last year that it would ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030, with the sale of some new hybrids until 2035.

The vote for the measure followed Parliament’s shock rejection of the EU’s proposal to create a more ambitious scheme for quota trading, a carbon limit tax and a social climate fund.

Liese, Parliament’s chief negotiator on the carbon market reform, urged his colleagues to try again in committee to find a proposal that would win support.

“All those who voted against today can think twice … please, do not kill ETS,” he said.

Setting more ambitious targets for the scheme, which is forcing some of the biggest polluters to buy carbon credits, was the bloc’s midpoint legislation in the umbrella Fit for the 55 plan, a roadmap to cut emissions by 55% by 2030 from 1990 levels. The goal is one of the most ambitious climate goals for any major economy.

The EU is the world’s third largest polluter.